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A participant in experimental gas-cooled and thermal breeder reactor development, ORNL contributed to the design of aero and naval propulsion, commercial, and liquid metal breeder reactors. These involved many cooperative programs with universities and schools in Tennessee as well as throughout the nation.

Timeline of ORNL Science

During the s ORNL became deeply involved in Department of Energy efforts to clean up the legacy of toxic and radioactive wastes generated in earlier years, both at its own facilities and throughout the nation and world. National policy mandated that ORNL speedily transfer its technologies to American industry and thereby enhance national economic competitiveness in the global marketplace.

Not only has ORNL affected the local economy of East Tennessee by providing opportunities for highly skilled and technical employment in the region, but the global and intellectual impact of the Laboratory can be seen in its role in developing scientists and engineers who have contributed to the advancement of knowledge and education around the world.

The plaque reads: " At this site, the Holifield Radioactive Ion Beam Facility HRIBF at Oak Ridge National Laboratory, researchers have conducted pioneering experiments using accelerated beams of radioactive nuclei to probe nuclear structure and investigate nuclear reactions that govern astrophysical processes.

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Important results have included early measurements with reaccelerated unstable beams, the first acceleration of neutron-rich fission fragments, and confirming the doubly magic nature of the heavy tin isotope Sn. It provided a wide variety of particle beams for nuclear physics and chemistry experiments.

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Chet Holifield, an atomic energy advocate — was identified as a DOE national user facility to provide more than 70 ion species for researchers worldwide. Growing interest in research using beams of short-lived radioactive ions led to another reconfiguration of the facility, with the ORIC serving as a driver accelerator to produce radioactive ion species that were then injected into and accelerated by the MV tandem. One key to keeping projects funded at Oak Ridge, Dale says, is teamwork.

Y-12 National Security Complex / Oak Ridge National Laboratory

Most of her projects tend to be group efforts, with one lab researcher with special expertise taking the lead in developing proposals. According to the Web site for the Wigner Fellowship --ORNL's oldest and most important postdoc program--two-thirds of those awarded this fellowship continue to pursue research at the lab. Dale, who serves on the Wigner committee, says the committee looks for people who can apply their critical thinking ability across different fields.

Four or five new Wigner fellows are appointed annually as the previous fellows move on. For many ORNL staffers, the area's scenic location and low cost of living are major pluses.

I&C wins contract at Oak Ridge National Lab

But it's the chance to work alongside a wide variety of world-class researchers and equipment that makes people want to stay. Andrew Fazekas is a correspondent at Next Wave and may be reached at afazekas aaas.

Stories from the Secret City of Oak Ridge

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